Introduction: How I Did 1,400 Pushup Burpees in 4.5 Hours to Raise $2,800 for Charity

Back in 2018 I contributed to the annual Microsoft Give campaign with an experimental fundraiser I called the Give Burpee Challenge, for which I did 1 push-up burpee for every $1 donated to charity. I completed 400 push-up burpees in 1 hour 15 minutes, raising $800 for charitable causes. I walked away from it feeling accomplished, but not at all physically challenged...

During the November 2019 Microsoft Give campaign auction, I decided to submit my Burpee Challenge again, in hopes of raising more money for charity. My colleagues, having witnessed how easily I completed 400 push-up burpees in 2018, this time wanted to really put me to the test. When the auction bidding was over, my 2019 Burpee Challenge sold for a whopping $1,375. Along with Microsoft's dollar for dollar match program, my auction item, when fulfilled, would provide a total of $2,750 in donations towards charitable causes.

I had a serious challenge ahead of me. It placed my physical training, faith, and determination to the test.


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Step 1: The Auction

The attached image was the PowerPoint slide I created for the November 2019 Microsoft Give campaign auction. It gave bidders an overview of my auction offering, with a preview of the previous year's Burpee Challenge in action.

When my auction item was up for bidding, I went on stage to explain my
offering, making sure everyone understood that this was an "every bid counts" item, not a "highest bidder takes it". As the bidding began, more than 50 hands went up! At this point I was certain that our team was determined to completely destroy me through their generosity. I began to question what I had gotten myself into, but simultaneously I felt a great sense of satisfaction.

Step 2: The Training

After the auction item sold for $1,375 (requiring the same number of push-up burpees) I began consistently training the push-up burpees during my weekly workouts to build the muscle memory and endurance needed to complete the challenge.

Shown here is my home-gym whiteboard with a log of all the push-up burpees I completed during the following three months. I missed only a couple training sessions, once because I was sick and another while being away on vacation with my wife.

During each training session, I also focused on strengthening my A (abs), O (obliques) and L (legs). In addition to these strength training sessions, I continued to do my usual running routine 3-4 times per week to maintain my cardiovascular endurance.

After three months of training, I've done a total of nearly 8,000 push-up burpees. I wasn't sure if I was physically and mentally prepared to complete the challenge, but at this point I faithfully decided that it was time to make it happen.

Step 3: The Challenge

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Step 4: The Takeaways

Having successfully completed this challenge, I had several realizations:

  1. I am extremely blessed to work at a company which emphasizes, encourages, and supports generous giving to our communities.
  2. I am extremely grateful to be part of a team which made such a generous contribution towards this fundraiser and gave me all the support during Burpeepocalypse day.
  3. We are created with abilities to achieve far more than the limitations we place upon ourselves.
  4. With hard work, persistence, and faith, anything is achievable.

After this experience came, went, and became a memory in my life's journey, I began to wonder... "What more am I capable of?"

I'm not sure yet, but I'm certain that at the right moment life will present more opportunities which will allow me to find out.

Matthew 7:7-8


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